Denver — It was just the sort of bounce-back start the Braves needed from Derek Lowe, who resembled an ace again Friday night in a 4-1 win against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
He pitched six innings of four-hit ball and had a 2-1 lead before a 52-minute rain delay ended his outing. But the Braves' bullpen came through, with Eric O'Flaherty and Rafael Soriano producing strong work in the last two innings to preserve the win.
Garrett Anderson and rookie Diory Hernandez hit a pair of two-out, two-run doubles for the Braves, who evened the four-game series at one apiece and their record at 4-4 on this 10-game trip that will take them into the All-Star break.
It was the eighth loss in 34 games for the Rockies, who have the majors' best record since late May.
Lowe (8-7) was charged with one walk and five strikeouts, a major improvement over his recent performances. He had been 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA over six starts, while surrendering 43 hits and 11 walks in just 23 innings. That was one of the worst slumps of the veteran's career as a starter.
Coors seemed an unlikely place for rejuvenation, considering Lowe had had been 2-4 in eight starts at the ballpark, including 0-3 with a 10.66 ERA in three for the Dodgers over the past two seasons.
It helped that he was staked to a 2-0 lead before he even threw a pitch Friday. Anderson hit a two-run, two-out double in the first inning, after singles by Martin Prado and Chipper Jones.
Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez settled into a groove and allowed only three hits in the next five innings. He struck out Nate McLouth and Prado after Lowe's leadoff single in the fifth, and struck out Matt Diaz after Anderson's leadoff single in the sixth. He was going strong.
Lowe and Jimenez seemed poised for a duel into the late innings, but rain and lightning did what neither lineup looked prepared to do: knocked both pitchers out after six innings.
The Braves added two runs in the eighth, when Brian McCann hit a leadoff double against Juan Rincon. After a Diaz walk sandwiched between strikeouts, Hernandez came through with the biggest hit of his young career, a double to right that turned a one-run lead into a 4-1 margin.
The Rockies got a double and single against Manny Acosta in the eighth, but lO'Flaherty bailed him out with two crowd-silencing strikeouts of Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe to strand both runners in scoring position.